Avery Lady Vikings volleyball closed out the year 2020 with a pair of Western Highlands Conference road matches, traveling to nearby Ledger to take on the Mitchell Lady Mountaineers on Dec. 29, and ventured to Columbus on Wednesday, Dec. 30.
Lady Vikings earn JV, varsity wins over Mitchell
LEDGER — Avery volleyball put together its strongest performance of the season to date in earning straight-set victories in junior varsity action, while taking five sets to cap a come-from-behind, hard-fought victory over the Lady Mountaineers in varsity action.
In the JV action, the Lady Vikings earned a win of both sets in the best-of-three match. In varsity action, Avery and Mitchell played a seesaw affair. The Lady Mountaineers showed moxy on its home floor in grabbing a lead and holding on late to preserve a 25-19 win in the opening set.
In the second set, Avery played its most dominant set of the match, routing the Lady Mountaineers in a 25-15 set win to even the match at one set apiece. In the third set, Mitchell returned the favor to Avery, making a number of key shots and taking advantage of errors to regain the match lead via a 25-16 win over Avery to lead two sets to one.
In the fourth set, Avery demonstrated mental toughness and the ability to refuse to give in. The teams played a long set, with momentum swinging back and forth throughout. When the dust settled, it was the Lady Vikings who strung together the final two points of the set for a narrow 29-27 victory to stay alive and even the match at two sets to force a tiebreaker set.
In the fifth and deciding set, the Big Red rode the momentum of its previous set win to finish off the host Lady Mountaineers, earning a 15-6 win in the decisive set to win the match.
Big Red faces powerful Polk attack
COLUMBUS — The following day, the Lady Vikings again hopped on the bus, this time riding down Highway 221 for a trip to Columbus to face Polk County. In JV action, the Lady Wolverines continued its recent string of sterling play, as PCHS was able to defeat the Big Red in straight sets.
Polk took a 25-11 score in the first set and began the second set with a 5-1 scoring rally to build an early advantage. Avery scrapped back, trading points with the Lady Wolverines to stay within a 9-5 margin, but Polk reeled off five straight points to pad its advantage to 14-5. Avery drew to within 18-11 but could pull no closer as Polk closed the match on a 7-3 scoring spurt to end the match with a 25-14 set win to clinch the match.
In varsity action, the two clubs played within three to five points for most of the opening set. Polk took an early 7-4 lead, and Avery remained close on the scoreboard, staying within three points on multiple occasions.
Leading 9-6, Polk scored four straight points to open up a 13-6 edge. Avery answered with three consecutive points of its own to draw to within 13-9, only to have the home team score an additional five straight points to gain an 18-9 advantage. PCHS finished the set by scoring seven of the final nine points for a 25-11 first-set victory.
In the second set, the teams opened up with even play, as the score was knotted at 7-7. Avery poured in three straight points to take a narrow lead at 10-7 and led 12-9 before Polk seized momentum with six straight points, forcing a timeout from Avery head coach Erika Eller.
Following the stoppage, Avery scored to draw within two at 15-13, but Polk’s offense found its groove, scoring seven straight points before Avery could stop the run at 22-13. The teams traded points before a pair of Lady Wolverines scores closed the set for a 25-15 Polk win.
In the third and final set, the teams remained close on the scoreboard, with Avery playing strong defense and setting up scoring opportunities for its front line. Polk led 5-2, but Avery showed guile in continuing to battle, rallying to tie the set at 13-13. Undaunted, however, Polk used a 7-0 scoring run to take control of the set at 20-13. AHS was able to draw to within 22-17, but Polk proved too tough to tame in capturing a 25-18 win to remain unbeaten on the season and earn the match win.
The week’s split left the Lady Vikings with a 3-3 overall record, and a 2-3 mark in WHC matches. Avery will look to close out its regular season schedule this week, with slated games at Madison and hosting Mitchell.